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Welcome to the Washington, DC Marine Aquarium Society! As they say, membership has its privileges, and this club is all about you! However, in order to fully enjoy the benefits of this wonderful educational society, please read through and be familiar with these guidelines for member conduct. As a member of a community, you are responsible for following all of these rules of conduct and are held accountable for them, whether you have read them or not!

Table of contents:

  1. WAMAS Mission Statement
  2. WAMAS Classes of Membership
  3. How to Join or Renew Your Membership
  4. Benefits of WAMAS Membership
  5. WAMAS Forum
  6. General Forum Etiquette
  7. Special Forum Rules
    1. Public Forums
    2. For Sale/WTB/Trade Forums
  8. WAMAS Forums Legal Stuff
  9. WAMAS Officers and other contact information
  10. WAMAS Charter
  11. WAMAS Privacy Policy

The Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarist Society, Inc. (WAMAS) is a 501(c )3[b] non profit educational society dedicated to the husbandry of marine life in a captive environment. Our mission has many facets:

  • To exchange information with one another, thus sharing our collective knowledge on successful husbandry of the animals in our care and promoting education on advanced captive husbandry practices.
  • To promote captive propagation and exchange of ornamentals within our organization and encourage conservation both within and outside of the aquarium trade.
  • To encourage public outreach through Internet presence and interaction with the marine aquarium trade.
  • To further our understanding of the oceans and ocean life by providing education on the current status of the world's coral reefs and ongoing research in the scientific community regarding coral reefs.

We welcome you to join us, as we try to further our understanding of the reefs and ocean life of this planet.

P.O. Box 8831
Reston, VA 20195-8831

Additional information about WAMAS can be obtained by emailing us at info@wamas.org.
To join WAMAS, please go to the Join page.
Feel free to also ask questions in our discussion forums

Individual - $20 per year*
Family - $35 per year**
Teacher - $10 per year***
Students - Free! ***(Students in grades K-12 and undergraduates/graduates pursuing degrees in marine sciences)

* Annual fee waived for retired or former WAMAS Presidents.
** Family, as used for membership purposes, is defined as couples and their dependents living in the same household.
*** Applicants for student and teacher memberships must provide proof of eligibility and eligibility must be revalidated annually.
- Students in K-12: Provide a copy of a school ID, report card or other documentation issued by the school that includes the student's name, name of school and grade by to membership@wamas.org.
- Undergraduates/graduates; Provide a copy of a current class schedule clearly listing marine-related classes and/or a transcript showing a declared major in the marine sciences by email to membership@wamas.org.
- Teachers: Submit a copy of their school ID card to membership@wamas.org.

Notice 1: Remittance of dues using a credit card or other instant electronic transfer results in immediate forum access. Payment by check or money order can result in delays of up to 1 or 2 weeks. If your application has not been processed in accordance with these expectations, please send a message to membership@wamas.org. and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Notice 2: Prior to joining or renewing, please ensure your name, address, and phone number are accurate in your profile. This information is only needed to contact you in association with your subscription and to mail your membership card. Click here for WAMAS's Privacy Policy.

New members
- Using a web browser, go to http://wamas.org/forums/join.php, fill out the WAMAS application and submit your payment via the PayPal link or by sending a check or money order to the address listed below.

- Using a web browser, go to http://wamas.org/forums/join.php, fill out the WAMAS renewal application and submit your payment via the PayPal link or by sending a check or money order to the address listed below. You may only renew within 30 days of your subscription's expiration. You will also receive reminder e-mails when your subscription is near expiration.

If you do not wish to, or are unable to use PayPal for your membership payment, please mail your check or money order made payable to WAMAS to the address provided to you during the subscription process. Mailing your check to our PO Box may incur additional processing delays. Email president@wamas.org if you have questions.

  • Connections and interaction with local reefers
  • On-line support provided by fellow members
  • Quarterly meetings
  • Social hours and events
  • Guest speakers
  • Great contests
  • Road trips
  • Opportunities to buy, sell or trade equipment, fish and corals
  • Participation in member-arranged group buys (saves money for all!)
  • Discounts from many local and Internet vendors
  • The opportunity to support educational and conservation effort
  • The opportunity to support community outreach efforts
  • And more!

WAMAS maintains a forum at http://www.wamas.org/forums/. This forum exists to support a Reef Educational Community that will allow participants to meet each other, share information about success and failures of reef keeping, and gain a general to specific education of the reef keeping hobby.

WAMAS forum membership is divided into seven categories, each with varying levels of access and benefits.

  1. Bulletin Board Member
    • Access to public areas of the WAMAS forums
    • Attendance at WAMAS meetings and other events (may require a surcharge)
  2. Vendor
    • Same bulletin board access rights as BB Members
    • Posting rights to "Vendor News" forum
  3. WAMAS Member
    • Access to public and member-only areas of WAMAS
    • Attendance at WAMAS meetings and other events (free or reduced price)
    • Discounts from many local and internet vendors
  4. Vendor Member
    • Combined bulletin board access rights of Vendor and WAMAS Member!
  5. Sponsoring Vendor Member
    • Same bulletin board access rights as Vendor member
    • Static Links/Banners and other forms of advertisement supported
    • Dedicated vendor forum area
    • Table/booth at WAMAS meetings (if space available)
  6. Premium Sponsoring Vendor Member
    • Same bulletin board access rights as Sponsoring Vendor member
    • Rotating banners and other additional forms of advertising supported
    • Complimentary access to WAMAS member areas in the forum
    • Priority access to Table/booth at WAMAS meetings (if space available)
  7. WAMAS Moderator
    • Same benefits as a WAMAS member
    • Monitoring privileges ability to read, post, modify or delete ANY post in MOST forums
  8. Committee Members (e.g. Tank of the Month, Others)
    • Same benefits as a WAMAS member
    • WAMAS member selected by the officer to help the club fulfill certain projects
    • Has access to specific forums only visible to other committee members
  9. Webmaster
    • Same benefits as WAMAS Member
    • May read, post, modify, or delete ANY post in MOST forums
    • Access to entire WAMAS website
  10. WAMAS Officer
    • Same benefits as a WAMAS member
    • Elected officials of WAMAS. May read, post, modify or delete ANY post in ANY forum
    • Additionally officers control the creation, deletion or modification of the topical areas within the forums
  11. WAMAS President Emeritus
    • Same benefits as a WAMAS member
    • Class reserved for retired or former WAMAS Presidents
    • Free lifetime WAMAS membership

Bulletin Board Member and Vendor access to the WAMAS Public Forums is free. All other categories require active membership in WAMAS. See "WAMAS Classes of membership" for information about joining WAMAS and Vendor Terms of Service for information about vendor membership criteria, terms and conditions.

WAMAS is a family-oriented site with participation open to people of all ages, races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, political affiliations (etc.). Users (i.e., forum members) of this site are expected to practice restraint when posting opinions that may be offensive to other users. Users are also expected to be tolerant of views and opinions posted by other and to refrain from use of derogatory terms, vulgar language or to otherwise incite arguments with other users. WAMAS officers and moderators reserve the right to remove, relocate or edit any post that they feel may be illegal, immoral, disruptive or contrary to the mission and purpose of this site.

Considering the real-time nature of this message board, it is impossible for us to review all messages or confirm the validity of information posted. Please remember that we do not actively monitor the contents of posted messages and are not responsible for any messages posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. The messages express the views of their author, not necessarily the views of WAMAS or any entity associated with WAMAS.org. Any user who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to contact us immediately. We have the ability to remove objectionable messages and we will make every effort to do so, within a reasonable time frame, if we determine that removal is necessary. This is a manual process, so please realize that we may not be able to remove or edit particular messages immediately.

This forum uses moderators whose job it is to encourage the fruitful, respectful interaction of its members and to ensure that the forum rules and all applicable law are followed. From time to time, action may be taken editing, moving or removing posts, and may necessitate follow-on contact with the member by the moderating team. All contact by and with the moderating team in performing or responding to these actions shall be respectful. Egregious or repeated violations of this rule will be referred to the WAMAS Board of Directors for review and action, and may result in a temporary suspension of posting privileges or banning from the forum.

Please keep in mind that text based conversations can lack the subtleties of voice or face-to-face communication. There are ways to add some of the subtleties of verbal and face-to-face communication into a text-based medium. The incorporation of textual and visual cues can help to convey your message in its intended tone. Some methods include the use of emoticons such as smilies to indicate humor, the use of tags to indicate your intentions i.e. /joke, or the use of ALL CAPS to indicate shouting. As with normal conversation, shouting is considered rude and should be avoided. Additionally, remember everyone here has different experience levels and comes from different walks of life. Please refrain from nitpicking or engaging in personal attacks. If you disagree with someone, by all means point out what you disagree with and clarify respectfully why you disagree. That is a constructive discussion. Calling someone names and stalking them is not constructive. Personal attacks and divulging any personal information is strictly prohibited and can result in sanctions being levied.

Finally, please be considerate of the thread topic and do not divert the discussion. This is known as hijacking and is also considered to be rude behavior. The rules of etiquette are by no means exhaustive and are only strong suggestions. For egregious violations of these suggestions the moderators may delete posts, warn posters, or remove threads. Severe violations may result in suspension or revocation of access and/or termination of WAMAS membership.

In addition to the guidelines contained in General Forum Etiquette, specific rules have been established for some forum areas. Violation of any of these rules may result in deletion of the posted information, warning, suspension or termination of access to the WAMAS forums.

  1. Announcements: Forum for posting general club information.
    • Club News: Announces meetings and other important club events posting restricted to club officers.
    • Tank Tours: Open to all members to post information regarding attending or hosting a tank tour.
  2. Public Forums: Marine aquarium related forums for the discussion of the marine aquarium hobby.
    • Open to Guests (read-only), BB Members and WAMAS Members may read and post.
    • No posting of sales, Want to Buy, Free, For Trade or similar transactions. Members leaving the hobby may be granted a one-time exception to post a single thread listing all items available for sale or donation.
    • Absolutely no posting of personal information (e.g. phone numbers, email addresses, excerpts of email and PM discussions) of other members.
  3. Sell/Trade/WTB/Auction Forums : Open to WAMAS Members only. Members accept all risks and responsibilities for transactions conducted within these forums. WAMAS and its officers are not responsible for organizing, collecting money or other actions associated with Sales, Group Buys, Trades and Auctions. Sale, trade or auction of non-hobby related items is prohibited in all WAMAS forums.See this thread for details on what is and is not permissible.
    • For Sale/WTB/Free:
      • "For Sale" posts must include prices for all items.
      • Commercial sales are prohibited within this area.
      • As in any business dealing, please use common sense and courtesy in your dealings. Be aware that as a member of a community, you should be respectful of the trouble others are going through to in order to sell something to or purchase something from you. Although WAMAS will not be responsible for any dealings that occur in this area, you may be held liable in a court of law should you renege on a responsibility you have agreed to!
    • Group Buys and Trading Forum:
      • Group buys are exactly what the name implies. It is a purchase arranged for multiple people by a single person or set of organizers. Taking part in a group buy is the choice of each individual member and WAMAS is not an official party to any of these, although contacting a vendor and arranging a WAMAS discount is allowed. The use of WAMAS is restricted to this, however, and WAMAS may not be used as a controlling party or responsible party in any group buy. If you intend to arrange a buy on behalf of the membership, please check with the officers before doing so to ensure that you have permission to use the WAMAS name in your dealings with any entity or person.
      • The trading forum is designed to allow members to transfer something to another member without using cash as one component.
      • As in any business dealing, please use common sense and courtesy in your dealings. Be aware that as a member of a community, you should be respectful of the trouble others are going through to in order to arrange a group buy or trade something to you. Although WAMAS will not be responsible for any dealings that occur in these areas, you may be held liable in a court of law should you renege on a responsibility you have agreed to!
    • Auction Forum:
      • Post the item for auction (picture required for livestock items, link to manufacturer for equipment)
      • Post the initial bid amount plus minimum bid increment.
      • Post the closing time and date for the auction. Forum time stamp will be the official time. I.e. if an auction ends at 12 noon, the last post with 12:00 timestamp and a qualifying bid is the winner.
      • Only post to an auction topic if you wish to bid. If you have questions, PM the seller. It is their option to edit the original post, if necessary to address your question.
      • If you post a bid, do not edit your post. If you are outbid, make a new post with a higher bid. If a post containing a bid is edited, that bid will be disqualified and removed by the moderators.
      • The latest post/latest timestamp within the auction timelines and with the highest bid will be honored as the winner.
      • Auction management and bid tracking is the responsibility of the seller.
      • All sales are final, reneging on sales will result in a loss of posting privileges (sales or bidding) in this forum and a court of law may find you obligated to proceed with the sale.
      • If an initial post lacks any of these items the moderators may delete the post without warning.

Please remember that we are not responsible for any messages posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message.

You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this bulletin board to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law or commonly practiced rules of civility and decorum. Additionally, discussion of politics for purposes of garnering political support or for a political agenda is restricted and discussion of religion is limited to postings in Refugium forum only as long as your views are otherwise acceptable under these guidelines.

If you violate these terms and conditions we reserve the right to implement corrective measures including, but not limited to:

  • removing inappropriate content
  • modifying the content of existing posts to remove inappropriate material
  • removing threads that have or elicit inappropriate material

Repeated or egregious violations may result in suspension or revocation of posting privileges. Determination of what is considered to be repeated or egregious violations is subjective and this determination is at the sole discretion of the board.

The messages posted on WAMAS express the views of the author of the message, not the views of this bulletin board or WAMAS. Any user who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to contact us immediately by using the report this post feature at the bottom of the post. We have the ability to remove objectionable messages and we will make every effort to do so, within a reasonable time frame, if we determine that removal is necessary.

You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or by this bulletin board.

President - Alan Munter (AlanM)
Email The President

Term of office: Elected January 2018 for 2 year term ending January 2020

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and had freshwater tanks as a kid. I finished a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1999 and moved to the DC area to work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD which might be the best place to work in government science.

I was running freshwater planted tanks for a while before switching to my first reef tank in 2013 after a couple years of lurking on WAMAS forums learning and planning. Corals have always amazed me: kind of an animal, kind of a plant, kind of a rock, but crucial for the health of the planet. I enjoy the discipline of participating in a hobby where everyone's tank is a little different but the recipe for success is the same for everyone: stability. If everything today is the same as yesterday, you're probably doing it right.

I've found that I get more out of any organization the more I'm willing to put in to it, so I've tried to help out with whatever WAMAS needed since I began attending meetings. Volunteering to be the front desk at the 2015 MACNA was a revelation to me about the amount of time and effort the club officers of the past have put in to building and running this club. I am proud to be affiliated with a respectful and knowledgeable community like WAMAS, I'm excited about what we are able to give back to conservation and education projects in the form of our grant program, and hope to provide years of good service to the club and its members.

Vice President - Hilary Foster (Hilary)
Email The Vice President

Term of office: Appointed April 2018 to fill out the term. Term ends February 2019

I got my start with freshwater aquaria when Santa Claus brought me a 10-gallon setup when I was five years old, and have maintained tanks pretty much ever since. As a SCUBA instructor I have been interested in marine life for years, but it was only in March of 2008 that I decided to take the leap into marine tanks. At the time I thought it would probably not be much different than keeping freshwater tanks - you just add salt, right? Thank goodness I took the time to stop by some of the local fish stores to ask questions, and one recommended that I join WAMAS. I jumped right in and began with a 90 gallon full reef tank, armed with the great advice of WAMAS members, and now maintain six thriving saltwater tanks.

I consider WAMAS to be a circle of friends as well as a wonderful resource, and look forward to working to further our mission and support the organization in any way I can.

If you have any questions about WAMAS, please feel free to drop me a line! You'll see me in the forum - I'm Hilary.

Secretary - Milton English (menglish)
Email The Secretary

Term of office: Term ends January 2019.

I am a transplant to the Maryland area from Guyana via New York. I came to the area for work where I work as a research scientist at NIH. Like many of you, I started fish keeping many years ago. I started with a gold fish tank. I have been reefing now for about five years. My first reef tank was a standard 90g tank with a homemade 20G sump. I ran that system for 3 years before I realized I was running out of real estate for my corals and wanted to upgrade. My current tank is a 180G tank with a total system volume of about 250 G. I have been running this current system for about three years now. This tank is a mix reef consisting of a little of everything.

I support my reefing addiction by working as a research scientist at NIH in Bethesda. I graduated with a graduate degree from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York in Molecular and Developmental Biology. Currently, our laboratory focuses on studying the genetic basis of various retinal degenerative diseases. To accomplish this, we work with both mouse and stem cell models. Additionally, we work with human samples from patients with degenerative disease. Our overall goal is to develop treatment modalities that can be to treat patients with these diseases.

In addition to my reefing addiction, I also an active gardener and an avid swing dancer.

Treasurer - Scott Friedman (scott711)
Email The Treasurer

Term of office: Re-elected February 2018 for 2 year term ending January 2020

I am a DC native (not many can say that!) and have had a passion for reef keeping for as long as I can remember. I have been a member of WAMAS for nearly 10 years (since Jan 04). My current setup is a 120 gallon tank that I built into my basement wall and behind it is my man cave where I have several frag tanks hooked up for a total of about 200 gallons.

I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where I originally began studying marine biology. I quickly realized that my passion was more geared to the hobby, then as a full time career. I changed my direction of studies and graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Spanish. I am an avid Diver and have been to some pretty unique places in the world (Galapagos Islands was one of the more interesting ones). I am a proud parent of two young and beautiful girls :) , who I hope will share my passion for fish and reefkeeping. I also have a very understanding wife, who is very forgiving of all of the mishaps I have had with my tank build.

Professionally, I am a contractor in the Government.

I want to ensure the club continues on its path of education and giving back to the community. We have a unique opportunity, since we are located in Washington DC, where all the critical decisions are made that affect the reefs of the world. I want to ensure that WAMAS continues to promote captive propagation and conservation to minimize the dwindling natural resources that we all enjoy. I want WAMAS to continue in a positive direction, so our children can enjoy the same things we enjoy as members of this great club.

Member Relations - Martin Olcott (molcott)
Email Member Relations

Term of office: Elected January 2018 for 2 year term ending January 2020

I grew up just outside of DC and have been working in bars my whole adult life which is what got me into aquariums. it has been very relaxing having something so serene to come home to after a night of chaos. I found WAMAS a couple years ago when I first started keeping live coral in my tanks. i have been so thankful for the wealth of knowledge people have here so when I was nominated to become an officer I accepted so I could finally have something to offer back this wonderful community of fellow reefers.Professionally I still work in bars as well as I am an event DJ.

WAMAS is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is a non-stock based non-profit corporation. We filed and received approval for 501(c)3 status with the IRS. Our corporate documentation is in PDF format and available through the following links:

* Articles of Incorporation as filed with the Commonwealth on 25.August.2004
* Virginia Non-Stock Bylaws as approved by WAMAS membership at the special meeting held on 30.October.2004
* IRS Approval

WAMAS is giving you this notice to tell you how we may collect, use and protect nonpublic personal information about you in the conduct of its operation.

What Nonpublic Personal Information Do We Collect About You?

We collect non-public personal information about you from the following sources:

  • Information we receive from you, such as information on applications or other forms, which may include your name, address, phone number, gender, birth date, and e-mail address.
  • Information about your transactions with us, such as your account balance and (dues) payment history.
  • Information about your membership status, membership history, and identities of persons covered under Family memberships.
  • Information collected automatically whenever you interact with our website. For example, we may use "cookies" to obtain information when your web browser accesses our website. We may also log and retain your IP address history when registering, posting, or otherwise interacting with our website.

How Do We Use The Information That We Collect About You?

We may use the non-public personal information that we've collected from you in the following ways:

  • To provide you with information of presumed interest such as
    • Club activities, meeting notices and social events
    • WAMAS-sponsored newsletters
    • Private Message (PM) notices, and new posts to subscribed threads or forums
  • To contact you regarding the status of your account with us, including
    • Providing you with your membership ID card, and welcome packet (if available)
    • Notification of account problems, renewal and cancellation
    • Investigation and assessment of possible violations of forum guidelines, terms of service, or WAMAS policies
    • To handle complaints and disputes
  • To develop statistical demographics and analyses of the WAMAS membership in aggregate
  • To conduct research, and to develop and improve our website and services

How Do We Protect The Information That We Collect About You?

We implement physical, electronic, and procedural security measures with the goal of protecting your personal information against unauthorized access, alteration, disclosure, or destruction. Despite our efforts to protect your personal information, confidentiality cannot be and is not guaranteed.

Does WAMAS Share the Information It Receives?

We respect your privacy and appreciate your involvement and participation in our community. We will never transfer or sell your personal information to a third party [without first seeking consent]. If we are legally obligated to disclose any of your information by court order, then we reserve the right to take whatever legal actions we deem necessary to protect your rights and that of the club prior to appropriate disclosure under the law.

Updates To The Privacy Notice

WAMAS may change this Privacy Notice at any time, and without notice. An up-to-date Privacy Notice will be posted on our website and available for inspection by the membership and by all users of our website.


Questions regarding this Privacy Notice should be directed to our Membership Director at membership@wamas.org.

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